A lot of success starts out with doing no more than setting your brain on a journey and then letting it do the rest. Evolution has seen to it that our brains are always thinking in our best interests — even if subconsciously. All we have to do is explain to them why a particular goal is in our best interests, and the rest is history. Here are 10 simple ways you can use the power of the human mind to build success.
1 Watch others
Due to mirror neurons in the brain, it’s scientifically proven that to succeed at any activity, watching other people doing it and simply thinking about doing it well can help you. If you want to be a better golfer, watching good golfers and then repeatedly visualising every aspect of you playing the same shot will improve your ability. Visualise in detail, in colour and, if possible, using physical actions. Crucially, what you are doing is training your brain as though it is any other muscle in your body.
2 Create an anchor
Anchoring is when you associate a specific behavioural trigger, such as snapping your fingers, with getting you into a specific mindset. Through repeated visualisations of the mindset you want to achieve, and ‘firing’ your anchor during the visualisation, you can attach the gesture to this positive state of mind and then use the anchor at any point to recreate it. How powerful is that!
3 Try chunking
To manage the most complex series of tasks, such as driving a car, we use chunking, a technique of grouping small bits of information into manageable bites. It may be difficult to memorise a number such as 456568576. But if the digits are divided into three simple chunks (456 568 576), it’s far easier to remember. We can all use chunking to achieve greater success, whether at work or on the dance floor. Is there anything you’ve been putting off learning or doing because it’s too overwhelming? Try chunking it into smaller steps and see how much easier it is to dig right in!
4 Create a good first impression
A first impression is created in just 100th of a second after first meeting someone, so make sure yours counts. Model yourself after others you admire and always get a second opinion on your personal appearance, either by checking in the mirror or asking someone.
5 Train your memory
Your success depends upon what you remember and your ability to call upon your own knowledge for optimal advantage. Recent research shows that contrary to popular belief, our brains continue to learn throughout our lives, so it’s never too late to wire in something new and improve your memory. The key to this includes good nutrition and ‘exercising’ your brain as you would any other muscle.
6 Remember evolutionary impulses
While the ancestral brain system has been evolving for hundreds of millions of years, cognitive reasoning is a very modern invention, having evolved as recently as 1.5 million years ago. This ”intelligent” part of our brains is unable to compete with the much older, more established, and more evolved animal brains we all know, and fight, flight, or fornicate (the Three Fs) are pretty much behind every decision we make. Knowing this will help you achieve success by keeping your brain alert and ready for action.
Just remember that your brain doesn’t always act in your best interests. The next time you sense your brain summoning up the Three Fs over something less critical than impending disaster, ask yourself what’s causing the sweating palms and racing heartbeat. Is it really a Three F moment, or is it merely something your brain is getting all antsy about, such as that talk you have to give to your colleagues?
7 Understand visual expressions
Over half of how we feel about someone comes from solely judging their facial expressions, and you can use this knowledge to further your own personal achievement. For starters, since faces provide an honest answer to a question far more quickly than any verbal response, ask someone a question and watch his face.
You can also use this science of “face watching” to gain more control over a particular social situation. If you suggest an idea to somebody and then ask what they think, pay special attention to their initial facial response. You should be able to adapt the conversation accordingly to help “persuade” or convince them to think differently.
8 Stop making the same mistakes
If you try something and fail to succeed, do try again but not before changing some aspect of your approach. Far too many people try to achieve the results they want simply by replicating the same old methods that failed in the first place. Before setting out to change your less-than-successful approach to reaching a goal, do a little mind-searching to find out why you weren’t able to succeed. Feed that information into your personal achievement strategy, adjust your approach and try once more.
9 Change your belief system
Your belief system is the set of ideals that govern your thoughts, words and actions. Unfortunately these can also contain damaging characteristics, but when we try to rise above the impulsive thoughts and automatic urges that make up our belief systems, we can succeed. The thing about beliefs and changing them is that you must first recognise when they are damaging. Then you must, must, must take some action to change them. If you don’t, they’ll continue to sit within your skull, limiting you at every turn.
10 Success breeds success
We’re all hardwired to exist in groups and it’s a scientific fact that we tend to adopt the mindsets of the groups we’re with so that we “fit in.” If those around you are negative, that’s how your mind will make you feel. Expose yourself to negative situations and you’re less likely to strive toward success. Success is built upon success. Create a strong, healthy foundation by surrounding yourself with positive, like-minded people, and you’ll be on your way towards the positivity, motivation and drive you need to make it to the top and stay there.
Phillip Adcock is a commercial psychologist and author of Master Your Brain: Training Your Brain for Success in Life £12.99 from Amazon.